Bellingham community members gathered to support a safe space for artists and musicians of all ages at the fifth annual Make.Shift Block Party, Saturday, Sept. 24.
The event, which is Make.Shift’s biggest fundraiser of the year,featured 14 local and regional bands on two stages, an art vendor market, beer garden, guitar shredding contest and kid zone.
Thea Hart has been volunteering at the block party for about three years.
“Being part of the community and being here with all the musicians, and all the artists and all the other volunteers, really gives you that energy boost and it gets you excited to do the next thing,” Hart said. “It’s a great motivator to continue arts and music in our community, especially when you see how happy everyone is.”
Hart enjoys seeing the variety of people who attend.
“There are people from all walks of life here,” Hart said. “All ages, all demographics; just so many different people.”
Make.Shift is a local gallery, studio, practice space and live music venue for artists and musicians. It is one of the only places in Bellingham that offers all-ages live shows.
This was Kristen Stanovich’s first time volunteering at the block party. She was also the vendor coordinator.
“I love Make.Shift. They’re a really important part of the community. They provide space for all-ages bands to play.”
Judy Just Judy band member Morgan Paris Lanza
“It’s cool to see the types of art people are doing within the community and it’s also great to hear local and regional musicians that want to come and support the space,” Stanovich said. “I think Make.Shift is really unique because it fosters the creativity people need in order to achieve something bigger than themselves.”
Stanovich believes helping organize the event made her realize how important nonprofits are and the kind of support they require.
“This place wouldn’t be what it is without the work of volunteers and donations, and just people who care about art,” Stanovich said.
Some bands that performed this year have played at Make.Shift in the past. Local band Judy Just Judy, played one of their first shows in the Make.Shift basement.
“I love Make.Shift,” band member Morgan Paris Lanza said. “They’re a really important part of the community. They provide space for all-ages bands to play.”
Seattle-based band Freeway Park performed their first show in Bellingham at Make.Shift last year, which is part of what drew them back to the venue, band member Graham Isaac said.
“Part of it is just the community feeling, part of it is the fact that the first time we played in Bellingham was at Make.Shift and it was an awesome show,” Isaac said. “I think you get a real mix of people.”
Tim Laighton attended the event for the first time in support of Isaac.
“It’s a cool event,” Laighton said. “Lots of vendors and people selling different things and kind of exposing their creativity in lots of different ways.”
First timer Cori Robinson’s favorite part was discovering new local artists.
“A lot of these bands are my kind of music, so it’s really cool to hear them, that are like, from Bellingham,” Robinson said.
Hansen Rosenquist also enjoyed the live music aspect.
“I just like local music,” Rosenquist said. “Everybody gets a chance to play and share what they love, and share their passion.”